How to Maintain Your Mental Health While Working From Home
As the nation practices social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many workers are now working from makeshift home offices. This represents a huge shift in the day-to-day lives of most of us, and the change in routine combined with the relentless news cycle can do a number on your mental health. Here’s how to make sure that self-isolation doesn’t get the better of you.
Know That It’s Not Business As Usual
A study from AirTasker found that people tend to report being more productive when working from home. However, these aren’t normal circumstances. Due to school and daycare shutdowns, workers may be attempting their 9-5 with kids in the background. Similarly, mandatory work-from-home means that multiple adults may be working in the same space. On top of that, there are interruptions to many essential services, meaning that things aren’t running as smoothly as we’re used to.
Rather than attempting to carry on as normal, acknowledge the change in circumstances, and accept that you might not be as productive as usual. Understand that your coworkers are in the same position, and be mindful that they might be juggling multiple new demands.
Try to Create a Routine
Humans thrive on routines. However, when you work from home, much of your regular schedule gets thrown out of the window. There’s no commute, no official 9 am start, no set lunch break, and so on. Put yourself in work mode by setting your alarm, putting on your office attire, and making sure that you’re at your desk during regular working hours. If your situation allows, go for a walk during your daily commute time, or try an at-home workout when you’d usually be hitting the gym.
However, while routines are great, allow for some flexibility. If you have kids at home, you may find that your carefully planned schedule gets off track. Similarly, if colleagues take a while to respond or you don’t have access to that one thing you need to get a task done, go with the flow, and try not to worry.
Manage Your Social Needs
Even self-professed introverts can find the shift to at-home working a challenge. Going from a day filled with coworkers, clients, customers, and other individuals to one where social interactions are highly curtailed can be jarring. Arrange group chats, video calls, or phone calls with your team or clients on a regular basis and check-in with friends and loved ones as often as possible. A simple text or message on social media to say hi can make a big difference both to you and them.
On the flip side, working in close quarters with family around can be overwhelming for some. If you find yourself needing some space, discuss it with your partner, roommates, or (if possible) your kids.
Look Out For Yourself
Jokes about quarantine eating and binge-watching abound on social media. But trying to stick to good food and exercise habits will help you feel better in the long run. Limit the snacks to healthy fare, and try to prep three proper meals a day. If you’re not much of a cook, order them from a small business who could do with the help right now.
On the fitness side of things, take advantage of the free fitness classes being offered by studios or make time to go for a stroll or run around the block. Physical wellness is good for mental wellness, so do what you can to stay healthy.
Limit Your News Intake
Between the news and social media, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the situation. Humans become anxious when we’re dealing with uncertain threats, and it’s easy for that anxiety to spiral into panic. This can spread to those around you, worsening the situation. To keep anxiety at bay, minimize the amount of time you spend on social media, and limit your exposure to the news to high-quality reporting – and ideally just once or twice a day.
Optimum Coworking is on quiet standby while we wait for this situation to pass, but that doesn’t mean we’re not here to help. If you need assistance with virtual services or recommendations for how to stay up and running during the waves of shutdowns, get in touch! We’re always happy to do what we can.